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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 6, 2009 10:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Before everyone gets all defensive, let me say that I love the Dead. I went to about 60 shows; not a lot by most standards around here, but enough to see a good range. Periodically I go on these ridiculous binges, listening to shows late into the night for days or weeks. I had some of the best times of my life at shows and still have incredible vivid dreams about them. I would give anything to go back. I'm a guitar player (over 30 years) and love to play the tunes, especially with others who "get it."

BUT... I just cannot pretend that Weir is much of a musician or a singer. His parts that are written, such as intros for China Cat, Scarlet, Friend of the Devil and so on, are GREAT and make Garcia's stuff stand out nicely. Also, his sense of rhythm in most of the tunes is good. However, as an improviser... nada. I admit, keeping up with Gracia during the extended jams and especially during the very spacey jams would be daunting. But Weir was totally unable to get anywhere near Garcia's explorations of shifting tonal center and so on. Weir would plink a chord, and while Garcia would be morphing his riff inside-out and really developing an idea with musical merit, Weir would basically fake it and do something like slide his entire chord up or down a fret... a purely physical move with no musical forethought. So often Garcia would be developing something really interesting, and CLANG! Thanks, Bob.

I know, I know, all Deadheads love Weir and his playing. I know he was the guy who was in there doing it, but as far as that shit goes, anyone could have done it.

Eventually, in the spacier stuff, he'd get reduced to using the slide and making echo-y little space-age sound effect-type noises. It might sound kinds wild in there, but it's just a noise, it isn't an idea in any sort of musical sense. You could do that. That's right, you, over there!

And while we are speaking of the slide... Give me a fucking break, OK? Here is a guy who could easily hang out with any of the greatest slide players in the world and get some instruction... but no. He could get some advice on the difference between a suitable guitar tone for slide as compared to the chirpy staccato-like rhythm thang that was one of his signature sounds. Jesus Christ, the sound of that man playing slide was fingernails on the blackboard. Bad tone, really bad intonation, and ideas? How many hundreds of times can he play essentially the SAME Red Rooster or Minglewood solo, and still fuck up pieces of it? And for all of you who are (were) OK with it, I need to know how it is that this guy, having memorized (or tried to) the same solos bits, could attempt them night in and night out, and no one feels like it basically flies in the face of Dead musicality, which is to say: IMPROVISATION!

Watching Weir pick up the slide was like watching the blind kid in the class getting up to take his turn at bat. You had to cheer when he could find the batter's box. If he took a cut a the ball when it actually thrown... well, that was a career moment. Same with Weir. It was like, a really good night would be when he wouldn't clam it too badly.

Honestly, to those Heads who listen to the Weir slide solos and say What a great slide solo!" I ask... have you ever heard a PROFESSIONAL slide guitar player?

Now, once again, I am not a Dead-basher. I LOVE it. But this was one of the things that burned me out over the years... people pretending that Weir can play, or that he can keep his guitar in tune... We all enjoyed him up there as a part of the Great Thing... but it was like cheering for a band because your big (or little) brother is in it, even though he might suck. I dig the "sentimental favorite" angle, and Weir deserves all those strokes for being who he was and where he was. But that's not the same as being a really good player.

Now to address his tone. The evolution of Weir's guitar tone is like the progression of Michael Jackson's face. At first, it was organic, friendly (the old Gibby 335). In the 70s it moved over to the Ibanez and a new rig. It sounded good but very different. This was that kind of harpsichord-meets-harmonica tone. Very unique and a great fit with the material, although it could get harsh and plinky when he got a little too excited (AND... still a horrible tone for slide). Later on, it was that Modulus graphite strat thing and the silly amount of effect-tweak that had pretty much lost any connection with how a guitar actually sounds. It was as though he tweaked out any of the remaining organic sound and dialed in even more metallic tweeze. Plus, this was an even WORSE tone for the slide. The conventional thing to do (because it happens to make sense and work really well) is to use a foot switch or use some other switching method, and, when you want to play slide, switch over to a different tone set-up. There's a trillion ways to do it, especially if you can get any gear in the world.

And here is something else, and I just want to know if some of you loyal Heads acknowledge it or if you think I'm just making it up: It always pained me to see Garcia, playing a solo, and as usual pouring all he had into it, whether or not he could pull it off... and when he'd wrap it up and come to a very obvious point for Weir to resume the vocal... well, Weir would so often refuse to get back to the mic; he'd make Garcia go around again. While I understand the desire to get the show rockin harder and so on... this is such a fucked-up thing to do to a soloist... Jerry would have completed his idea, built to his crescendo, and wrapped it up with a fucking bow on it, and here was Weir, stomping his foot like he's the Emcee of the show... Cmon Jerry, I know you got some more! You had to feel sorry for the Old Man as the years went by, watching Weir whip him like a tired horse. It was bad musically, and I thought it was so disrespectful to Jerry!

This is how it would happen in songs where the end of a solo was not only evident from Garcia's execution, but also because the chord form of the song had come around to the top, where Weir should begin a new verse. Even worse (and more telling) would be in a song where a solo section might not have a pre-determined length, and the singer might actually have to (Gasp) LISTEN to the solo and hear the spot to come back in. It isn't asking a lot. It isn't nit-picking. It isn't trying to hold Weir up to some perfectionist's image. No, it's more like (back to baseball here), expecting a baserunner to remember to tag up on a fly ball. It is just what you do.

Good example (out of thousands): 2/17/79, Oakland, Keith and Donna's last show. Opener is greatest story, and as one reviewer put it, Jerry came out swinging. I couldn't agree more; in fact the whole band was killing it. So, at the end of the song, Jerry is jut whipping it into a froth,aqnd he builds up this really great crescendo... the high note, the phrasing of it, you can just hear that it is obviously the end. Not to mention the not-coincidental fact that it ended at a correct measure count for the song to feel balanced... rhymically it was the correct spot for the out-chorus to pop in (Abraham and Isaac...).

But no. Even other band members hear it, I think it is Lesh who goes for it with Garcia... but Weir plods on, causing this voltage sag, and the Garcia has to resort to something hammy and overly theatrical like trilling a very high very loud chord for 8 bars so Weir can get his head around what needs to happen.

So you see, I have all this pent-up dissatisfaction with Weir's playing. I want to hear from other Heads. Either it's gonna be: "Yeah, he's a pinhead, but whattaya gonna do, we love em anyway," which I totally understand and support... Or maybe it's "Hey, his imperfections are part of what makes Garcia's stuff stand out in the contrast it needed," which is also OK with me, even though I think a truly skilled player working behind Garcia would have made auditoriums melt right down. Even faster than they did. OR -- is it going to be "Man, you are out of your freaking mind, Bob Weir is a GREAT guitar player, I love his slide playing, he was crucial to the Dead, they couldn't have done it without him..." In which case I'll just have to agree to disagree. If the Dead had lost Bob Weir and done something else, they would still be, unmistakably, the Dead. But without Garcia... well you see what it is. It is still good, but...

Am I in some very strange minority of people who LOVE the Dead while also finding Weir's musicality basically worthless?

And never mind for now the discussion of his singing... Hah! Hah! Really goin on a dreeeeeeem.... Heah come de rain... TOO MUCH FUCKIN RAIN!!!!...

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Poster: rastamon Date: Mar 7, 2009 9:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

no, it's just you.

Personally, life would not be the same without Bob's shorts and vocalcord destroying growls in Estimated prophet. He was/is an important part of the Dead sound

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 7, 2009 10:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Ha! There you go! Those shorts alone are worth it all...

I will say, though, that Clean Cut Look that he seemed to first sport at the Sept 75 show in GGatePark we were speaking of the other day, really did throw me--seemed so counter to the whole scene (was reminded of it by the those pics someone--Helives?--posted with the great ones of Jerry in his leather jacket on that nippy afternoon)...Like the cover to his Heaven Help the Fool album? Thought he was looking for the Vegas Night Club look or some such...maybe it was the disco open collar aspect?

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Mar 7, 2009 10:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I can't put it in such technically accurate terms as you can, as I'm not a musician, but i appreciated the example of GSET 2/17/79 for a time when Bobby fucked with the "call back" at the end of a Garcia run...and I feel there are many examples of this throughout show histiry...owever, my question--again, as a non-musician--is: How can you know for sure that was Weir's fault all the time?

Listening on tape to many examples, i often wonder if in fact Jerry himself wanted to take another solo run and maybe HE messed up the timing? I'm just curious as to how you can tell--not SEEING the action on stage--that Weir is to blame in such instances?

as to his slide skills--I have to admit, he annpyed the crap outta me with that thing, and two great examples are from 1978: He kills an otherwise AMAZING Fire on the Mountain (4/24/78) with a screeching slide that just makes you want to eat your own ears...and on Werewolves from 7/8/78 he's equally as shrill...never could understand why he didn't listen back and think "i oughta dial that down"...then again, how could they not have listened back to 8 years of Donna and not thought the same?

Ultimately, Weir was just a part of the band you have to accept AND give him his due that his SOUND...however flawed from a player perspective, WAS part of what made the Dead SOUND like the Dead...and as we all know, there was NO OTHER SOUND LIKE IT. (a variation of "They're not the best at what they do... they're the only ones that do it").

Ultimately, I'm one of those Deadheads (70+ shows since 1979) who doesn't listen to full shows anymore and invariably just listens to favorites plucked from the thousands of shows we have left to marvel over Most of those are Jerry tunes...which tend to be my favorite anyway.

So the Weir factor for me isn;t as prohibitive as it might be for you.

Oh, and i ALWAYS fast forward past a LLR....."and that's not gonna chaaaaaay---ayyyyy-aaaaaynge."

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 8, 2009 12:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

>>Oh, and i ALWAYS fast forward past a LLR....."and that's not gonna chaaaaaay---ayyyyy-aaaaaynge."<<

Hi-larious.
In response:
>>i appreciated the example of GSET 2/17/79 for a time when Bobby fucked with the "call back" at the end of a Garcia run...and I feel there are many examples of this throughout show histiry...owever, my question--again, as a non-musician--is: How can you know for sure that was Weir's fault all the time?... i often wonder if in fact Jerry himself wanted to take another solo run and maybe HE messed up the timing? I'm just curious as to how you can tell--not SEEING the action on stage--that Weir is to blame in such instances?<<

Well the question is good, but I saw it happen plenty in person. But beside that... no. Weir's boo-boo. Sorry. How often did you ever hear Weir start to sing a new verse and Jerry charge back in and step on it for another go-round? The answer is NEVER. The example I bring up is not that maybe Garcia kept going and somehow didn't provide a good spot for Weir to resume... the other way around: Garcia would wrap it up very nicely and Weir would be either lost in Bob-World, or, doing the Angry Bull stomp to show everyone that he was playing his ass off or something.

Strumming a guitar really really loud isn't kick-ass. It isn't "playing your ass off." It's just playing loud. And sometimes, it is being totally inattentive to what your band-mates are doing.

I think the title of the original post should have been: Did Weir suck a little too often?

Too many people here are hearing me say that everything he did was worthless, even though I tried to preface it by mentioning how much I've always loved the music and still listen to it.

Other people keep saying something like, "Well, Weir never claimed to be the player that Jerry was..." Well, Jerry's skill has nothing to do with this thread. I mean, really, what is the logic in that? Jerry was so great that we have to cut Bob some slack? Like for every click that Jerry's talent goes up, we should expect and allow Bob's to drop? I don't think you get a pass because you play next to someone who is good.

I really liked his rhythm sound for a long time. But as I mentioned at the outset, I was just dismayed over the years that it got worse and worse. For a man with any gear in the world at his disposal, this can only mean one thing: bad taste. And meanwhile, the actual quality of the stuff he played seemed to go steadily down hill over the years.

But really, my original interest with this thread was to explore the extent of what seems to be a pretty widespread denial among Deadheads about Weir's playing. People tell me it's blasphemous to diss Bob, like it's somehow disrespectful to the band. Well fuck that, I gladly handed over lots of my money over the years. GLADLY! I had great times! And in a way I can even say that I love Weir's part in the band. That does not mean that I am under some loyalty to never mention The Elephant in the Room.

It's OK to love someone and also get real about the fact that they do some bad shit.

I don't even want to get into his singing, which curiously enough, lots of people have volunteered, even while wanting me to cool it.

And no one is saying that his tunes didn't contribute. That's also not the point. I love Estimated Prophet, but unfortunately, Estimated Prophet does not mean the his slide playing is OK after all.



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Poster: WHARFRAT Date: Mar 7, 2009 10:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Ahhh yes no estimated's with out Bob too.
Thanx Rasta.

This post was modified by WHARFRAT on 2009-03-07 18:19:22

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Poster: Skippy61 Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

naw i don't think Bob sucks. He was an intergal(sp) part of the Dead tho. I do agree strongly about his singing i can dig it until he starts that high falsetto screaming shit... your thinking of a tune that he did that on and cringing ain't ya?

Would the GD been the same? No and maybe, but I do know this much...I am truly greatful that the Dead is and was! With all the warts and squeals, dropped lyrics and tunes that went..?????

Peace:Skippy




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Poster: stratocaster Date: Mar 8, 2009 9:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Interesting essay and alot of mostly true points...

Weir was an integral part of the Grateful Dead. His big numbers like Playin'. Estimated, Cassidy are classic numbers in the repetoire...

Weir was a big time ham/ cheeseball...he loved pulling these goofs on the music and the fans...

As far as a slide player, I found his rhythym slide playing like in Samson to be pretty good and went well with what Garcia was doing, but unless he kept it real tight, his slide solos in Minglewood and Rooster were mostly horseshit...

As a complementary player to Garcia his parts created nice interplay in the arrangements and were key to the Dead's groovy sound, he does some outstanding work in the numbers like They Love Each Other and Ship Of Fools..great work in Easy Wind, Truckin', New Speedway, great parts in Terrapin, Estimated and so on...

I wasn't thrilled with all of his tones, particularly when he chose the real thin sounds or when he played the slide guitar over the pick-ups to make it sound like an out of tune whistle...horrible...his singing was decent enough...

When Bobby was on and the band was on they were the train rolling down the track into your brain at one thousand miles per hour...

so overall, Weir did provide his share of suck, however as i read once, "on a good night, the Grateful Dead were musical visionaries of the highest order, on a bad night they were a collection of tone deaf retards..."

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Poster: WHARFRAT Date: Mar 7, 2009 8:59am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

To say that Bob sucks and added nothing to the band is totally wrong. Also to say more often than not he ruined jams
or, screwed up Jerry is also wrong. To say he sucked as a slide guirtarist, I'd have to agree. He wasn't the best.

I don't think Jerry thought that Bob was ruining jams or his
solo's. Jerry would have had a fine career without Bob and the rest of the band , if he so desired. I also have to disagree that Bob made Jerry extend his solo's or made Jerry work that much harder. Jerry would finish his solo's when he wanted to.

Jerry Was the leader of the band, NO DOUBT. He decided when the songs (Jams) would end and not Bob.
But the GD would not be the same without Bob. He was a good fit into the puzzle. Could they have gone on with out him?
Yes. Would they have been better off with out him?
I doubt it. As far as his vocals, I suggest you spent more time in '71 - '74. The WRS>LIG'S form '73-'74 are truly some
of Bob's best work with the band. Check out the Matrix /Avalon shows that Will Tell speaks of. It is some of the best free form jamming you will ever listen too. Yes no Bob no Pig Pen. Awsome stuff there.

So, I guess Bob screwed up every H>S>F that you ever saw live? He was totally out of tune and couldn't sing?
And, I guess Feel Like A Stranger and all the L>S>D's Bob
also ruined for you? Oh and don't forget all the BirdSongs
he just totally killed with his out of tune guitar and off key vocals.

I have to agree with my friend sd77, Lets see what you got.
BTW , Donna added nothing to the band. But thats another thread for another day. They should have just ended the whole thing in '75 no?

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 8, 2009 1:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

>>>So, I guess Bob screwed up every H>S>F that you ever saw live? He was totally out of tune and couldn't sing?
And, I guess Feel Like A Stranger and all the L>S>D's Bob
also ruined for you?<<<<

Um, no. Someone who has been playing for a year or two can be expected to screw up every one. Someone who has been doing it for decades and become pretty wealthy doing it MIGHT be expected to nail it a little more often.

Shit man, when you go to a ball game and the pitcher gets completely CREAMED, do you defend him for months and say, Well, he did throw this REALLY NICE curveball in the second inning...

No. Because he is a professional. And as cozy as we all were with the boys, I for one (apparently) didn't feel it too much to hope for that Weir might improve his game over the decades instead of making the bad get worse.

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Poster: mempheel Date: Jun 12, 2013 8:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

laughing out loud at this thread... tonight I've been trying to figure out which '71 NFA on the archive is my fave- a bunch of great ones, with the 12/05 Felt Forum version way up there. Problem with that one, as with about 80% of the others, is that NFA>Goin Down the Road Feelin Bad>NFA almost always ends up w/ Bobby SHRIEKING during the NFA return. Try as you might to give him grace for it, the more you listen the more you cringe (sort of like shroom mouth)... so I googled "Bob Weir's screaming sucks" and ended up in this thread!!!!! Count me in with those who couldn't/ wouldn't imagine the GD w/o Bob Weir, but harbor no illusions that he's ever possessed any special musical talent.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 7, 2009 6:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I avoid later Weir, but I can make a few comments.....
His guitar tone did get worse into the '80s, but he wasn't alone - Garcia's guitar sound also became increasingly less 'natural' as the years went on. And of course, though Weir's later bellowing style was painful, Garcia wasn't always pretty to hear in those years either. On the whole a Garcia show was a much smoother listen, since I think Weir's voice wasn't suited for much besides cowboy tunes.

As for songs - Weir's songs tend to have strange rhythms and nonexistent melodies. The Dead often turned this into an advantage though, by finding some great jamming spaces in these unusual arrangements. WRS/Let It Grow is probably a classic example of a really awkward song that became a jamming behemoth.

I don't have the knowledge to talk about Weir as a guitar player unfortunately, but I like whatever he's doing in those early jams....the interplay with Garcia & Lesh just works for me. He may be a minor third partner, sitting out some of the time or just tentatively putting in a chord now & then - but it would be hard for me to find a jam I think he spoils.
HOWEVER - someone said that "Jerry decided when the jam would end and not Bob". Maybe that was true in later years, but in the early '70s, Weir is usually the first to end a jam and decide to head into the nearest song. (The opposite of what you noticed, I hear him frequently cutting off Garcia's solos in his songs to start singing a verse early.) It is so frustrating, when things are gliding along and time stops for a while, and then suddenly Weir slams on the brakes. There are lots of times you can hear Garcia in mid-jam sort of sputter and clench up when Weir does that, and he has to mentally switch into that song. Garcia later mentioned that he liked gradual segues between songs, but Weir preferred sudden jumps.

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Mar 7, 2009 7:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Weir admittedly viewed his role as changing through the years as a guitar player. In the beginning, he was just trying to keep up, by '71 he was a foil for Garcia which continued through 72. By the time Wake of the Flood was released, Weir actually had better "classical" skills than Garcia and a more intricate knowledge of the fretboard. His huge hands and long fingers allowed him access to unheard of alternative chord structures. This capability and knowledge resulted resulted in some of the more unusual progressions found in the catalog, a lot of it very jam-able. It also aids in making simple progressions such as Fire & Franklins sound much more complex.

The tours following WOTF show Weir to be more "riff" and "fill" oriented rather than a "driving" rhythm player. Interviews with Garcia and Weir both suggest that he was searching for a place in the mix to fit in. With the return of Mickey, and Lesh playing a very melodic bass style, the middle ground, or frequencies were thick with sound. Weir moved his work up the neck into higher frequencies competing mostly with Keith's right hand work in terms of sound. The result is Weir becoming much thinner in the mix, and his technique became even more "complimentary" than being at the forefront. (This technique is very evident on later Scarlets and FOTD's)

By the time Brent is in the band, with his electronics and Garcia begins moving to more effects, there are times in the late 70's and 80's where he virtually seems to disappear. Brent now becomes Garcia's foil and muse, the mid-range mud is thicker than ever, and even up on the neck, Weir is competing for sonic space.

One other thing to keep in mind is that Weir spent 30 years as "the understudy" or the little brother. The band was overwhelmingly about Garcia, and despite the "democratic" rule within, Weir was really just a player caught between two musical geniuses.

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 9, 2009 12:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

OK, hold the phone a minute here...

>>By the time Wake of the Flood was released, Weir actually had better "classical" skills than Garcia and a more intricate knowledge of the fretboard<<

Now this just hurts. If in fact he gained a more intricate knowledge of the fretboard, he apparently remained at a loss as to how to utilize it to make music.

Non-musicians make such a big deal about Weir playing "new, different, or complex" chord voicings higher up the neck. Puh-leez. They are just chord inversions. They are only neck positions. You can learn that if you want to, go take a few lessons. It isn't crap but it isn't complex either, it is fundamental.

Without a good sense of melody and understanding of chord progressions beyond the most standard forms, and most of all GOOD EARS, figuring out a new inversion elsewhere on the next for a given chord is no big deal.

I'm not bragging. I'm not a pro musician except for the very few times I'll put something together for someone's party or a kids' school fundraiser. When I say that making use of available chord inversions WHERE THEY SOUND GOOD in any given song is standard procedure, I am not saying that I'm good at it or that my ears are so great that I can drop into any situation. I am just saying, from a musician's standpoint, giving a highly paid musician strokes for knowing all the chord inversions is a fucking stretch.

And we are talking about the basic major, minor and seventh chords here. Forget about jazz chords. I can't play jazz for shit, even though I understand the theory and (what a geek) like to read jazz workbooks for fun. You want to get excited about people working out ENDLESS chord voicings, inversions, embellishments, alterations, substitutions...

Now I can already see the responses coming: 1. Weir never claimed to be a jazz player! How unfair to judge him against jazz players!
2. You love jazz so much, go listen to it and leave the poor Dead alone!

Keep in mind that this is a response to people who are always trying to tell me how complex Weir's playing was. Well, it wasn't. Lots of it was very cool and fit in there really well. And lots of it was truly hunt-and-peck.

Ideally, a musician has an idea in the mind and then tries to get it on the instrument. Weir's playing often sounded (sounds) to me -- and I know because I am guilty of it when I'm over my head in a playing situation -- like he starts out by thinking" I wonder what'll happen if I change this chord and put this finger... HERE..." and only afterwards hears what it sounds like. This is why his written-out, or permanently fixed parts are usually good, but his improv and space jamming... mmmmm not so much. Musician-wise, one of the real unforgivable sins is not knowing where to "lay out." I know great players who don't really have such hot technical skill or even know how, but they have good ears and can hear where to hop in and more importantly where to lay out. The worst guys in the world to play with are the ones who keep going, nice and loud, while they're not at all sure what to play.

More intricate knowledge of the fretboard than Garcia...cmon, make it stop.

As Hunter Thompson said, Even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then.

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Poster: djsen Date: Mar 7, 2009 4:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Thank you for saying this! Your subject line does seem harsh but I totally agree. I guess he had his moments but your critique is fair. You express and justify it better than I could. It often sounds like a difficult labor for him as he painstakingly plays his guitar. There are times, especially in the latter years, when it sounds like he's mocking the whole effort. I can't recall the specific show, but one version of The Weight was the last straw. When it came to his verse he was shouting/singing in a high-pitched squeal that made me cringe. I thought the Dead were better than that. There are more examples(Queen Jane, Black Throated Wind...)I recall and I'm sure there are many more I haven't heard but I don't even give it the chance anymore. I never really cared for his tunes and end up omitting almost all of them when I burn to CD. I've often wondered if he ever listened to himself and what he thought. I figured he didn't since he kept doing it. Curious what the other band members thought as well.

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Poster: tatittle Date: Nov 19, 2010 6:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I believe every point you make is valid. The thing you miss is the assets Bobby brings. He had a unique sense of timing and phrasing style which is rare especially for a rythym guitar player. Once you become accustomed to it one may begin to take it for granted. Granted the subtleties of his playing get lost in later years crappy tone--but if you listen closely especially to early stuff he has countless little rythym parts that add a sophisticated nuance without overpowering the lead guitar. This is VERY DIFFICULT.

I think it is much eaier to overwhelm the stage with insane lead theatrics of hard rock youth than to play tastlful humble rythym parts which--as you demonstrate are underappreciated. Every soloists know the most important thing is to have a good rythym section that brings out the best in you. This is what Bobby did.

It is easy to judge anyone could do something in hindsight--it is 20/20. Just because I feel I can do something, the factv remains I didn't---he did! In addition to his songwriting skills providing the majority of the long jam material for the Dead, bobby fills in the hles beatifully. A more "talented" musician would demand even more conspicuous close ups time. Bobby occassionally overstepped his ability and role in the band, but that much was owed to him. It is through mistakes that we grow. Without the courage to fail we will never succeed.

Duane ALLMAN was the reason I started playing guitar--so I have no defense for Bobby's lead slide work. But I am suprised to find when he keeps the slide to rythym parts he is plenty dependable and quite sweet often!

If a nominal rythym guitarist who played right on the beat mediocrely replaced Bobby--the Dead with or without Jerry would have climaxed at state fairs and municipal parks I believe. Jerry Band never reached the heights of exploration of the Dead largely because there was no Bobby. While it is difficult to measure his value--like a pitcher with an ERA of 7.00 but 20 wins, he is indispensible--no matter how it looks on paper. The Dead was chemistry as much as anything, and Bobby was responsible for MORE than his share of that in the band IMO.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 7, 2009 6:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I never cared for Bob songs, except the earliest ones (hmmm, the usual trend here), and by the mid 70s, thought he did better with Kingfish. I am no guitar analyst, so leave his playing to you all to parse, but, I will say as I have so many times before that the fall of 68 suggests Bob meant more than PP to the boys.

During the infamous "firing" all you have to do is compare the Matrix shows (sans Bob & PP) to the Oct Avalon shows (10-12-68 is in EVERYONE'S top ten of the early era, even all time for some) in which Bob but NOT PP was present, and you conclude that Bob somehow, someway, really did add something to the band that Elvin Bishop or whomever could not replace...

Lots of bands have individuals that can be picked apart as individual players, but yet contribute in some significant way to the whole (being greater than the sum of the parts...right?).

I would also say that Bob is the one I find least appealing when considering other aspects apart from music over the past 20 yrs (ie, from what I've read, folks that have met him), whereas all that knew him in the mid 70s (sure, most were ladies) always said they like him the best of all the band members after having met him personally...so, perhaps he changed over the years from that innocent dyslexic adopted kid from Atherton to something altogether who knows what, but he was certainly still part of something very important to me, so I can live with that...

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 7, 2009 9:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Very good posts, one and all. Glad to see the conversation settle down little bit. It is interesting to note that the reactions here to this topic are predominantly sentimental, just as reactions to his music during a show. Once again, I say, that sentimental judgments are completely valid.

This would narrow it down to way too fine a point and ignore many other aspects, but I could ask this: Is there a single fan among the millions of us who, when Weir would grab the slide, would jump up and cheer "Wooo Hooo! I can't wait to hear what he's gonna do tonight!"

Never mind the parts about how we all love him for what he did and who he was and how the whole thing was great... because I am included in that group.

It just reached a point for me where, during shows, he'd play something that was so utterly rough on the ear, and it seemed like everyone and I mean EVERYONE was looking around and kind of smiling in a vague way with that sort of "Hey who farted... uh, not me..." expression. It was like the so-called Elephant in the Room. We are having our Special Time, so we will not speak of This... I always thought there must be at least some other people among these 10 thousand or so who are just not buying this...

And I have to say that something that did start turning me off to shows as the years went by was the militant attitude of many Heads around me that basically said, "It is blasphemous to fail to scream and cheer wildly at every single moment, let alone to make any criticism." An emperor's new clothes trip.

There were always plenty of fans for whom Louder meant better and more exciting. A slide solo that concluded with high-volume wailing squealing notes waaaaaay up past the fretboard, over the pickups, nearing the Doggie-ear-damage range, would be considered one of the high moments of one of the hottest nights ever. Again, to each his own and this is valid.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Realize (jeeezzz?!?) that some of your concern no doubt deals with the last 20 yrs, right? I am sure the late 70s and early 80s fans could correct me, but I only think I saw him play slide a time or two? Rarely? Was he doing it by then? Or was it more of the mid 80s thru to the end?

Point being, just like Jerry turned to special effects, which seem to have disappointed some, no doubt part of what you have an issue with was the kind of evolution of their sound, and experimentation of a very different kind from the early era (but no doubt still very important to them as individuals), that hyper-critical old farts like me point to, along with voice degradation, as to WHY we stopped going in the late 70s and early 80s.

As I have bored folks so often with over the yrs, I really do feel that Jerry lost the voice by the end of the 70s (there are some latter exceptions) due to smoking heavily and the tough schedule, BUT Bob, to me, had a passable voice til he altered styles (at least it seems it was a conscious move?) to the "talk your way, as if a ballad" for most every song, and I really start to notice this in 72, and esp on the Nov 73 boxed set. He could still pull some songs off well, again, I thought as often with Kingfish as with the DEAD, but his change bothered me more than Jerry...

Esp when I listen to my early era tunes, a la Work/Beauty, and the live acoustic shows back then, I really thought he made the best of an average voice, but that he went south from there.

So, by being one that gave up on the band by the half way point, at some level I share some of your angst...but, I argue against the principle that it would necessarily be damning--ie, one players flaws do not necessarily require the overall critique implications of your post...but hey, it got everybody talking, right?

This post was modified by William Tell on 2009-03-07 20:35:33

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 8, 2009 1:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Yes Mr. Tell, well said and well-taken.

Not surprisingly, I was not at all a fan of Jerry going to the midi samples of trumpets and shit in Let it Grow and elsewhere. BUT... the difference was that he still played with sensitivity, emotion, and most importantly... with an ear for what was happening in the song.

Jerry did indeed start losing his voice badly, but he did not lose the emotion in his delivery.

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: Mar 7, 2009 9:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I don't think he sucks.

About tone: I think Bobby's out-of-phase 'chirpy' rhythm tone was actually very interesting; no one else was using a tone like that at the time, and it's very idiosyncratic and unmistakable. I think it's perfect for songs like "Row Jimmy" and "Scarlet" but it's certainly too clean a tone for the hard rockers. As was Garcia's tone, half the time, especially with Wolf. And the songwriting point is valid: it's a different group without Bobby's songs.

Bobby's singing can be very charming, but that shouting is a drag, and I hated in the late 70's when he started adding "Y'all" to ALL his lyrics.

As a guitar player, he's always been underrated and I guess continues to be. His sense of rhythm IS a little off, but that's a lot of what you're hearing in the GD 'sound'. His slide playing is often good on "Althea," the other songs he does it on, well, that IS the wrong tone, unless you think you're playing an electric Dobro, which he wasn't. I can't speak to Little Red Rooster, because I rarely listen to the 80's-90's...

Bobby's Rebuttal

This post was modified by Styrofoam Cueball on 2009-03-07 17:51:42

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Poster: WHARFRAT Date: Mar 7, 2009 10:15am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

love that rebuttal Styrofoam!

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Mar 7, 2009 3:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

there was a discussion about some of what you say not too long ago. As you can see, while it wasn't framed exactly the way you did, the conversation about Bob's sound (guitar and vocal) is similar.

http://www.archive.org/iathreads/post-view.php?id=228530

I'm no musician but always figured that if Jerry wanted to play with a better rhythm player he would have. Whose to say that playing with Bob wasn't in part responsible for Jerry's style of play and that if he had been playing with other rhythm guys he might have sounded different. Again I am not a musician so I maybe be talking out of my ass on this one.

Final thought on Bob's playing. If you have the opportunity check out the bonus tracks on the re-release of Wake of the Flood. Included is a demo where bob plays the WRS alone on an acoustic guitar. Really nice stuff.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 7, 2009 8:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Hey elb--that was sorta the point I was making below with my usual wealth (har) of early era data...highly scientific and clearly compelling analyses once again prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that though markets may rise and fall, and bail outs may fail and succeed, there is one absolute constant: my ongoing efforts to funnel all manner of assessment thru the prism of 1968. Works for me...

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Poster: smgarcia Date: Mar 7, 2009 11:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Operator 552 I consider myself an audiofile (having played piano for 10 years) and I would like to think I can analyze music in a little more detail than the average person.

I do agree with some of your analysis. I've never thought that Weir was a great, or even decent, at guitar improvisationlism. I was surprised to recently learn that he took the lead during the China > Rider bridge (at least in the early 70's, perhaps during the lifetime of the duo - I'm not sure). And in 1973 and 1974 I thought he played some great solos.

Comparing him to Jerry, or comparing anyone to Jerry for that matter, is a tall order. In no way does anyone in the Dead have Jerry's technical, rhythm, melody, improv, or feel for music. He's that special. I'm not sure I've listened to any musical artist like Jerry. Additionally, I don't think it was Weir's role to do improv. Maybe because he couldn't, but for most songs there is a need to keep the rhythm as Jerry goes off into space. Sometimes Phil, sometimes Bobby, etc. I admit that some of your analysis has excrutiating depth to it and I have not gone at lengths to analyze each note.

Weir's slide does stink for the most part. I remember not liking several Little Red Roosters because due to his cryptic and elemental slide.

Now, onto vocals...I love his vocals and believe he had a great voice for the first 20-25 years of being in the Dead. He would render songs differently for the last 10 (LIG, Playin', Estimated to name a few) and I never liked the new versions. I'm not good at analyzing vocals but he reached his peak in the late 70's and plateaued in the early-to-mid eighties. His voice in the late 60's and early 70's was still great.

I appreciate your comments but I don't agree with most of what you said. The Dead with Weir and his song contributions is a sad thought.

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 8, 2009 1:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

REPEAT-- I am not comparing Weir to Garcia. Anyone who does it completely missing the point.

Garcia's playing is utterly irrelevant any issues with Weir's playing and the collective "smile and look the other way" attitude about with so many fans.

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Poster: rastamon Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

along with being a monosexual, i'm also an acomplished stereopile(having listened to stereos & boomboxes for 50ears)...whatever..Weir improved,

listen to track 16- (the tracks are mislabled) anyway "space". Its some wonderful improv between Bobby & Jerry
TRACK 16- http://www.archive.org/details/gd1987-11-07.sbd.walker-scotton.miller.83998.sbeok.flac16

This post was modified by rastamon on 2009-03-07 20:27:43

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

"along with being a monosexual, i'm also an acomplished stereopile"

Hmmm--you got me going with that one.

Would it be better to be an accomplished monosexual rather just being a stereopile?

It's probably harder to avoid stepping in piles when they come in pairs, just like snakes in the grass, and though I suppose at one level, most of us are monosexual, vegans might aspire to dioecious or monecious approaches, depending on their fruiting preferences.

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Poster: rastamon Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

It's probably harder to avoid stepping in piles when they come in pairs, just like snakes in the grass, and though I suppose at one level, most of us are monosexual, vegans might aspire to dioecious or monecious approaches, depending on their fruiting preferences.
ouch...where's my dictonary..uhhhh...ok

i never say no & sometime 3somes!! me-myself and I
back to Bob talk please :P

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Mar 7, 2009 4:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

here's my take. In later years through now Bob "talked" the words and that has been discussed here before and I agree it's annoying. With that said, I loved weir's contributions and energy. To me the GD would not have been the GD with just Jerry songs. Also, I am not a musician and have never picked up an instrument but a friend of mine who did said Weir's guitar playing is very complex.

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Poster: GennyBenni Date: Mar 12, 2009 6:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Great response, nice and simple. I am a musician and I definitely hear a great deal of sophistication and complexity in Weir's harmonic and rhythmic style -- I have, in fact, sat down with a pencil and music paper and attempted to map out what he was doing, and it turns out to be incredibly cool and counter intuitive. So the question of whether he has any musical merit is, to me, a silly one for anyone who has any idea of what goes on behind music.

That being said I can definitely understand an aesthetic disagreement with what he does on the guitar, but I disagree (with anyone who says so) that his ego came into play on stage in any meaningful way. These were musicians who all sacrificed their ego in the name of creating music directly from their hearts, and in that regard it is my firm belief that Weir accomplished this as well as any other musician in the band.

Anyway, I think what he does is something quite special from an aesthetic and technical perspective. He's not just strumming, he's snaking around with different notes and carefully choosing everything he plays. Bobby rocks.

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Poster: cosmicTraveller Date: Mar 7, 2009 8:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Bob is a wonderful rhythm guitarist. I haven't heard very many rhythm guitarists compliment a song like he does. His chord shapes and leading notes between chords allow the GD to have that smoothness that I love so much. If he was always playing chunky chords and rocking out then it just woulnd't be the same.

When you focus on all the reasons that Bob might suck, it prevents you from appreciating all that is good with his contribution to the band. Here's some stuff that I really appreciate:

His rhythm playing on early Dark Stars is so beautifully transparent in the scheme of the band. The hammer ons and pull offs and arpeggiations of the chords in the key in which they are playing fit so perfectly into the improvisational puzzle. Its especially awesome when Phil or Jerry take a song to a new tonal center and Bob repsonds by moving to the newly introduced chord. He really punctuated the musical sentences well.

Also how bout his melodic rhythm playing in Cold Rain and Snow a la 1970.

China Cat from the 70's would not sparkle like they did w/out his playing!

His playing on Bird Song and Playin' in the Band is just perfectly complimentary!

Moreover, his riffs from songs like Sugaree, BEW, US Blues, are so key.

There are so many cases when he made the song more interesting. Especially on Jerry songs when Jerry would really be playing a solid rhythm and singing, Bob would play some great melody and counter-melody.

Listen to his playing from 8-27-1972. He is all over that recording!

In fact, when you hear a show that is Bob-heavy in the mix it makes you appreciate him that much more!

Try this one out for size:http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-01-03.sbd.ret.19440.sbeok.shnf

Listen to the CR&S and listen for Bob's melodic playing while Jer is playing that very rhythmic single note riff.

Listen and give your analysis, I insist.

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Poster: cosmicTraveller Date: Mar 7, 2009 8:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

btw, that CR&S is not the best version of the song but I just used it as an example where Bob is heavy in the mix and though the song doesn't come together amazingly, his playing is quite impressive and easy to hear.

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Poster: cosmicTraveller Date: Mar 7, 2009 8:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Better yet, check out the JAM from the H2H on that 1970 recording. Bob really helps propel the band to some peaks.

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Poster: woodstock950 Date: Mar 8, 2009 12:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

It's not just you. Bob Weir has become boring. Between Phil & Friends and RatDog, give me Phil any day. At least he's still experimenting with the music.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 8, 2009 7:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob finally does some good at LMA

Seriously...great thread...I actually learned quite a bit.

Hey, question: are all these newcomers the usual ONE or is this a site "attack" from the Sailors? Not so much a hostile takeover as some interested parties sharing?

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 9, 2009 1:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob finally does some good at LMA

Mister Tell, I swear to you on the memory of Mister Garcia that I am brand new here. I ended up here posting after a very interesting week of email correspondence with an old chum (great musician) who is now teaching a university class (Musicology Dept) on the history of American improvisational music. Swing, bebop, Coltrane, so-called post-Coltrane, Miles... and of course the Dead make their way into this historical thread but in a VERY different way, from a different angle, and with staggeringly different results.

I am no Weir-bashing lurker. This thread came about for me after spending a sick number of hours poring over recordings for clips to send along to the Perfesser. This had always been my basic opinion of Weir, but this last intense Listen-a-thon made mer feel like there is really a lot of this stuff here in the music that I can't ignore. Just because I was having the time of my life at the shows, and tripping and getting laid and getting shot out of a cannon through multiple galaxies of past and future lives, creation and destruction, horrific scenes and indescribable beauty... well, that doesn't mean that if I could, I would have hopped onto the stage at times and slapped Bob with a big cold mackerel and said WAKE UP! Did you not HEAR that fucking noise you just made? Everyone makes mistakes, but for the sake of Sweet Jabbering Christ do not do that again... especially every time you play this song for the next 20 years.

So I do not know who these other lurkers are of whom you speak. Do they write like me?

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 9, 2009 6:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob finally does some good at LMA

Oh, by all means I was thinking of all the other bizarre handles that appeared about the time of your entry...thus, I figured you might have been an associate of Kochman that works at the LostSailors Dead site...Or, that you were new and the others were one of our old friends that likes to post with a different name every few days.

This greatly irritates some (me historically, for sure) but not so much these days for reasons I indicated in the thread above about such matters.

Welcome aboard!

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Poster: stilldead77 Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Please post your extraordinary digital resume on here so we can piss our pants laughing.

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Poster: Estimated Pete Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

You don't suck Operator. Everyone has a right to their opinion. And your opinion is from a musician's point of view. Much respect to your analysis. But, think what the Dead would be like without Weir. No Playin', Let it Grow, Cassidy, Stranger, Jack Straw, Other One, Estimated, etc.
he did add a lot with his songs.

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Poster: The Guilty Stain Date: Mar 7, 2009 5:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Believe me, Operator552 Does Suck...

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Poster: RBNW....new and improved! Date: Mar 7, 2009 2:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

you are operator 552 moron

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Poster: The Guilty Stain Date: Mar 7, 2009 3:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

no, I'm Dr. Proctor

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:15am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Well, apparently we disagree, which is fine. My resume doesn't have much to do with it; nor does yours (but feel free to post it if you need to). Apparently, I suck, but my question actually had to do with Weir. Me being a weenie does not, unfortunately, make Weir a great guitar player. If your opinion is Hey, I like his tone, and I think he's a hell of a slide player, or No, he did NOT play basically the same solo on his tunes for years, and even if he did that's fine with me... well, then you can say so. Unless you are one of these fundamentalist Deadheads who will not tolerate criticism of Jehova's Favorite Choir.



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Poster: stilldead77 Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

No disrespect man, I play too, and I am sure you don't suck.

Anyone can say whatever they want, I have friends with Bob stickers on their car, I have others who call him, "Blobby" I have some who just listen for the love of the music, and then some like me, who might just press skip when LL Rain comes on (but not always). I appreciate your in depth review, but again, like someone said on here, go listen to JGB, I am right now. 1.27.76 -- go and get it over at your favorite candy store.

Have a nice weekend, want to go see Ratdog with me tonite...ha ha

Peace!

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Poster: RBNW....new and improved! Date: Mar 7, 2009 2:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

most likely the same viral being that has lurked here for a few years. the same one that doesn't GET IT.

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Poster: BillyBuck Date: Mar 7, 2009 1:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I'm with you on the vocals. The shouting may have been cathartic for Bob, but it was (is) damn unpleasant for the rest of us. And for god's sake fellas, if there's a note you know you can't hit and you've blown it every single time you've performed the song--REPHRASE IT!!!! Or, god forbid, CHANGE THE KEY! This is the problem with most GD vocals, BTW--they write songs in keys they can't sing in.

However, as to Bob's guitar skills, I'm going to strongly disagree. In fact, I used to be an adamant Dead-hater and it was Bob's rhythm rather than Jerry's lead that finally drew me in. If you're coming from a strictly rock background I can see where it would seem un-rocking compared to say a rhythm guitarist like Ron Wood.

But if you have some familiarity with jazz, I think you'll better understand where he's coming from. He "comps" like a jazz pianist, constantly changing the chord and voicings in dynamic response to what Jer and Phil are doing. His tone (at least pre-hiatus) is perfect for the role he plays, almost more like a piano than a guitar.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Mar 7, 2009 2:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I think that nails it - and helps explain why guys like Alphonso Johnson and Billy Cobham enjoyed playing with him.

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Poster: Finster Baby Date: Mar 7, 2009 4:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Everything Opoerator says may be entirely true. But I'll be the first to admit that it doesn't matter to me.
That is the beauty for me of me not having any musical training, musical sense,musical knowledge,sense of rythym, or even the ability to tell if something is out of tune.
I know what I like or don't like. I like the Dead and their sound. That is probably why my enjoyment of the band comes from the fact that I think that they did really cool songs for the most part. Alot of folks dig 'em cause they could really jam out. For the most part jamming for extended periods just isn't my thing. I dig the jams within the structure of a particular song but not so much the long spacey stuf between songs, I'm of the rare minority that would have had no problem seeing a show where they played 30 as opposed to 20 different songs and jammed them out less. But that is just me. I'm sure there are plenty of times where I would hear something and think that didn't sound too good. Whereas someone who could more understand it on a technical level would be blown away and vice versa.
That is what makes them such a great band. Something there for just about everyone to dig.....from the extremely technical among us (Operator 552)to the completely non techical (me).



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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 8, 2009 1:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

This is most straight-up response I've read so far. I totally respect this. What I think I hear Finster saying "It works for me," rather that yer fulla crap, or How can you rag Bob's playing when Jerry's is so great (I still don't get you guys on that one...) or even the thundering silence when it comes to defending his tone or his content with the slide.

"It works for me" is a great thing.

"It doesn't work for me" should get equal time.

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: Mar 8, 2009 10:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I talked about Bobby's tone...but a lot of my posts ARE mistaken for 'thundering silence', so I guess it's okay...

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 8, 2009 10:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Sorry my bad. I should go back and read again. But just to make sure I got it right, were you saying that his slide tone was good or merely tolerable?

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: Mar 8, 2009 12:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I was saying I like his tone overall, but that it wasn't good for slide playing, too thin. Except on "Althea," where I thought the twang suited the song. No one should use the same tone all the time anyway, Garcia knew that...but Weir is guilty sometimes.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 8, 2009 12:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I always loved how Jerry would quickly switch a switch (toggle a toggle? dial a dial? never saw it, so don't know) on his guitar at a most excellent point in the Eleven and it was great to suddenly get a very different feel/tonal experience...Fast too! Did I mention it was fast?

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Poster: Miss Divine Date: Mar 7, 2009 11:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I always thought Bobby had a pretty hard job as the rhythm guitarist in such a musically demanding band and his chord voicings were pretty involved, from the footage I've seen of him.
I thought he did a good job, especially with Garcia and Lesh either side of him. Musically, they were miles ahead of him but I don't recall him backing down from their challenge.

But then again, I rarely listen to anything after 1974 and I'm a woman.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Not sure if your comment followed from the one I made above about the ladies liking Bobby, and I wasn't trying to make a sexist point, but was often struck that when meeting "insiders" (something above "groupie"; wives, girlfriends, roadies, etc.) that they often took great delight in letting you know your "hero" was a real ASSHOLE in actual fact, and you should recognize as they did they had all the usual, if not moreso, human flaws...of course, this might have been envy or mean spirited for a variety of reasons, but those I met at Kingfish shows always gushed about how "nice" Bobby was, and not just cause they wanted to get in his pants, it seemed to me...

Probably too hard to make much sense out of any of those comments, but that was just to make a point that it might be the "personal Bob" of today is something all together different from the whippersnapper of the early era that often had good (and BAD!) jokes, comments, etc., during shows...

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Poster: rastamon Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

sexist? naw...Bob was very popular with the women- in general. "He's the cute one" so I've oft heard. Imo He win's the "Most Improved" award in Deaddom and grew a soul in the process. Miss Divine, you enjoy fishing? (pre-74...hmmmm)

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Mar 7, 2009 11:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

"...But then again, I rarely listen to anything after 1974 and I'm a woman."

I don't see how that (being a woman) should qualify your opinion on the matter in any negative way...as for not listening past '74, well, THAT'S another story ;-)

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 8, 2009 1:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Well, that 1974 item is important, since part of my point is that the tone and the musicality of his stuff seemed to decline after that.

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Poster: Miss Divine Date: Mar 7, 2009 11:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Only a joke, my dear....but as for the 74 part, I'm deadly serious.

This post was modified by Miss Divine on 2009-03-07 19:41:51

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: Mar 7, 2009 11:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

So, are you saying you're a Lady Fan who is not a Fan of Lady With A Fan (Terrapin Station)? ;-)

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Poster: Miss Divine Date: Mar 7, 2009 11:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Heh...yeah, something like that.

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Poster: WHARFRAT Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Don't forget Bob's screwing up the rythm
in eye's of the world as well.

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Poster: The Guilty Stain Date: Mar 7, 2009 3:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

howzabout when bobby does a big rail of Sanka and streches out a cowboy tune.

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Poster: tatittle Date: Nov 19, 2010 6:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I would also add that I was shocked how impressed I was with Bobby at the Bob & Rob Wasserman show I saw. He did not play single string ledas with speed or complexity or intuitiveness like Jerry. But he had wonderful multiple string fills better than anyone else I can think of.

Maybe it is because I actually have an easier time playing Jerry's style than Bobby's--but he impresses me. That is not to say he satisfies me as much---or that I do not find some of his playing unlistenable.

I cannot think of someone I would rather have backing me up on rythym guitar over the young Bobby honestly, and I wish I could throw out the multiple string fills he did effortlessly. I can play nominal rythym and superior leads--but that discreet melodic rythym lead part is beyond my knowledge, if not ability. Bobby also hammered on and pull-off entire chords or individual noted within a chord as good as anyone I have heard. Superior finger/hand dexterity. He had an unorthodox approach to music--not trying to steal the show with over the top lead lines...choosing instead to make the BAND sound better---the SONG sound better. This is the common thread to all members of enduring professional bands. Contrary to your exceptions, Bobby aimed more to promote the sound of the band rather than himself. That being said his ego undoubtedly was bigger than Jerry's no? Over compensation for self-doubt I imagine.

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Poster: Estimated Pete Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:14am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Wow. Talk about pent up frustration. Weir was NOT the lead guitar player and NEVER claimed to be. My suggestion: listen to JGB!! And leave Bobby alone. He was a great contributor to the Dead sound. They tried booting him out once, and it just didn't jive. Synergy. That's what it was all about.

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I hear you. None of this had anything to do with thinking Weir should have been a good lead player, although if a guy wants to take solos as a permanent fixed section in some songs (Red Rooster for ex), then it might be fair to say hmmm, I thought that solo was (fill in you opinion). Never mind his lead-playing capability. This was about his actual tone and overall sense of musicality.

It's not an all-or-nothing. I still listen to shows all the time. The good with the bad, warts and all. I understand what unconditional love is. I like it even when I cringe at something and have to say, well, Bobby, heh heh, gotta love it.

So, disliking an aspect of the music is verboten, eh? Not even allowed to ask if other Deadheads share any of this feeling? Bummer.

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Poster: user unknown Date: Mar 8, 2009 10:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

First is this Weir bashing related, in any way to his alleged complicity in the infamous "Archive Debacle"? If so, all your arguments are moot.

Though it is true that Mr. Weir is not the greatest rhythm guitarist to strap on an ax; the same could be said, arguably about any member of the band. Pick an insrument and you can probably find a player more proficient than any member of Grateful Dead, especially if you don't limit yourself to a specific genre and give consideration to all players. And can you deny that Bob's level of proficiency has increased dramatically with experience?

"Bob Weir is a GREAT guitar player"...NOT

"I love his slide playing"...Don't you think that Bob's slide playing has progressed from amatuerish and dischordant to mildy enjoyable?

"he was crucial to the Dead"...This is a tough question. I've always felt that Grateful Dead was an entity that was greater than the sum of it's parts. That would make all the parts indispensible. Now, could Bob(Donna, Vince...pick a player any player)have been replaced with better? Possibly, bu t that would have been a different entity. Those that were there, for however long they were there contributed to the bigger picture. Take away nay part of that picture and the picture change irrevocably.

"Weir's musicality basically worthless?"...NOT

In conclusion, "did(does) Weir SUCK?" At times, yea. But then everyone has an "off night". you mentioned how on 2/17/79 when Bob "blew it", Phil steps in to Jerry's aid. That, my friend is the key. On any given night, if one member "sucked" the others could be counted on to kick it up a notch. That dynamic IS what made Grateful Dead GREAT. Sometimes the dynamic worked flawlessly, sometime not so well and there are those that say some nights(years)it didn't function at all.

Love him, hate him or simply tolerate him like the cousin you don't get along with..."Rockstar Bobby" is family.



This post was modified by user unknown on 2009-03-08 17:08:10

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Poster: Solo Head Date: Mar 8, 2009 10:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: This just in.. from Bobby...

"Hmmm...go fuck yourselves'with my custom brass slide..."

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Poster: beijingscene Date: Mar 7, 2009 12:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

dear operator:

sorry in absentia for stilldead's peevish response to your post. i assume he/she is not a musician. i am--i have been paid for it so i guess that makes me at least semi-professional--and know that you are just from the detailed knowledge displayed in your message.

re: your message/bob, you might have been more diplomatic in your choice of title, but i'm sure you recognize that. as you may know, bob weir was kicked out of the band early on (there will be fellow forum members much more familiar with this history than i am, i can only justify so much obsession with the interpersonal details of a defunct band). i have seen differing explanations by insiders of the background of that event--so i will take with a grain of salt anyone who claims authority on the subject unless it is someone who was there at the time--but i suspect that it had something to do with the details you describe. there is no question whatsoever to anyone who knows how to play an instrument that weir is not 1/(fill in the blank with a big number) the guitar player garcia is, but then again how many are? i happen to like bob weir's singing/songwriting (with the caveat that i consider the band virtually unlistenable post-1980s, and the neck-jutting howard dean-like "hyaaaahhhhsss!" always bugged the shit out of me) and i think that their voices blended well in harmony (however ragged).

regarding all the other details you describe, most of them i agree with so you are not the only one, but rock and roll bands--like political administrations--are composed of flesh and blood human beings working synergistically and there are myriad legitimate (if less than perfect) reasons for their accomplishments and failures that do not lend themselves to precise dissection.

as you probably know, weir was the spiritual "kid brother" in the original mother mcree's/warlocks, and judging from comments i've seen from the other band members they all retained personal affection for him (how could they not? touring so relentlessly together for so many years, the band would have broken up long before death if there was not a powerful interpersonal bond).

i love the jerry g band (i probably saw the band/jerry g twice as many times as you, and started in the early 70s when they were still physically fit and not yet junk-infused), but always felt that there was something missing from jerry's playing w/out a contrapuntal rhythm player, weir's limitations notwithstanding.

i could say a lot more but i assume you get my drift. sure the dead might have been as or more interesting with a different rhythm guitarist. who could/would that have been? david crosby? john lennon? someone we've never heard of? i trust you see my point. in addition to playing and singing, you have to take into account someone who could have kept a family (that is indeed what a decades-long rock and roll ensemble is) intact for 30-plus years.

last but not least, i had the pleasure of meeting bob weir in a human environment in thailand where he likes to scuba dive. his vibe in person is of a humble soul who knows he is not the world's most virtuoso guitarist and was privileged to share a stage with those bandmates. we all could be better at what we do, and hopefully we don't take our talent and/or opportunities for granted. i am convinced bob weir did not take his responsibilities lightly, although he may have treated them with the detachment of an acid test vet.

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 7, 2009 1:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

All very well-said and well-taken, thanks!

I do listen to plenty of JGB, and not surprisingly, as much as I love it, I'll still also crave the Dead. Perhaps it's the energy of bigger crowds, heavier drumming, the very different bass figures... and of course the space jams. JGB gave me more of the Man stretching out longer over the tunes, but less of that really wild, reckless abandon, out-there stuff.

Yeah, I should have been more diplomatic. But when I imagine myself in the situation... for example, during the many times I've played with superior musicians. Man, when I hear recordings of myself and it sounds bad, I try and never do that again or else try and fix it.

I felt kind of bad for Weir sometimes, because like everyone says, can't be easy playing next to Garcia. Still I can't imagine anyone told him he better start taking some slide solos or he'd get canned. No one needed him to try and do more. Maybe he put some of that pressure on himself.

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Poster: beijingscene Date: Mar 7, 2009 1:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Perhaps it's the energy of bigger crowds, heavier drumming, the very different bass figures...

lol, yes lesh and the hart-beat are not easily replaced (even billy k alone was a swinging drummer for that ensemble)

Still I can't imagine anyone told him he better start taking some slide solos or he'd get canned. No one needed him to try and do more. Maybe he put some of that pressure on himself.

i assume you've never heard/read about the frustration everyone felt when he began learning/teaching himself slide WHILE ON STAGE! i just treat it as the nagging quirk of someone who took a little too much acid in the 60s. it's a miracle to me that he can construct coherent sentences, never mind becoming an increasingly nuanced guitar player. all that cosmic consciousness comes at a price.

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Poster: stilldead77 Date: Mar 7, 2009 5:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

China man, I am a die hard musician and Deadhead -- which lead me to say, "let's see you do better" in a little more fun way above. Now feel free to post your resume, everyone knows where mine is on here.

Long Live Blobby!

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Poster: beijingscene Date: Mar 7, 2009 11:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

mea culpa, i did not see your second post before i wrote my first. fwiw, i have a strong preference for common courtesy in human interaction if at all possible. there is one regular poster who knows my background well, suffice it to say i have dealt with more than my share of genuine inhumanity/atrocity/bloodshed in my work overseas and wish people with a common affinity for this music could treat each other respectfully. i thought your: "...so we can piss our pants laughing," was unnecessarily harsh, call me old-fashioned. your second message was much more civil (and funny) and i apologize for any unintended offense. i assume we both have much better things to do than disagree over this, i'll return to silent mode now.

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Poster: pigpen_81 Date: Mar 7, 2009 8:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Wow... Well stated !!!
I am not a musician and really do not grasp all the tonal/guitar selection for different types of playing stuff, nor do I understand chord progressions, etc.
I do know what I like to hear,..or shall we say, what is pleasing to my ear and produce's that certain special spark of warmth in my soul.
Bobby.. ? not so much. Some of his songs pump me up in the primal rock n' roll sense. Tell you what tho.. I can't imagine them (the Band) any other way. And bobby has brought that feeling of warmth to my soul,... not so much by his playing. Here's a good example : Can't remember specifics but it was early 80's east coast show, Bobby is strutting his stuff looking like what we then called "Bobby Rockstar" and as he ran towards the edge of the stage and tried to slide down onto one knee he fell over ! Laughed my ass off especially when I looked at Jerry and he was shaking his head and smiling. That moment gave me such a warm/connected to something bigger than myself feeling,..even when I think about it now I get that feeling.
It was like watching a close friend go for something big and bungle it thereby exposing a part of themselves. A very human part of themselves which leaves you with "nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile." The way you'd watch a kid brother or your child and feel sorry for them but still find it funny.
For those many moments alone, that Bobby brought, he was worth seeing.
I agree that his slide work was barely tolerable. When LRR would start at a show it was an opportune time to take to the hallways and see what old friends I could find,..or make a bathroom trip. But there are also Bobby tunes I liked...so go figure.

Bottom Line : I wouldn't have changed a thing. I'll take Bob Weir just like the rest of the band, with all their imperfections which is part of what makes them Grate.

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Poster: RBNW....new and improved! Date: Mar 7, 2009 2:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

WELL SAID>>>>i do know what I like to hear,..or shall we say, what is pleasing to my ear and produce's that certain special spark of warmth in my soul.

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Poster: spring mountain high Date: Mar 7, 2009 8:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

weir's slide playing was nothing short of brutal...and some of his tones were odd at best.............

BUT, he was first and foremost a rythm guitarist...i always thought he had a unique and enjoyable sense of rythm that worked perfectly in the context of the dead...i also enjoyed his exploratory chord building sensibilities...mostly the inverted, high on the neck stuff, which he could arpeggiate in a syncopated fashion to the rest of the band

technically great? maybe notsomuch...but nonetheless a vital cog in the beautiful, awesome, powerful steam locomotive that was the grateful dead

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Poster: The Guilty Stain Date: Mar 7, 2009 8:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

butt really... This dude has had good days and bad day like all of us. He's blown my mind and pissed me off. If you've ever seen Bobby break away from the pack, then you know what I mean, butt for some odd reason Bobby and Warren are all locked up like a couple of street hounds.

This tour should be interesting !

Attachment: pHagz-speedway_bobby.jpg

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Poster: Zaorish Date: Mar 8, 2009 6:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I'm with you Operator. Weir does suck, as a guitar player, although not as a spiritual child of the universe (for you weir lovers out there).

You are spot on. His greatest moments are only when either (a) he has memorized something and does it the same way every time (for example, the 72-74 China>Rider solo that he did), or (b) when he makes a weird noise so loud and outrageous that even though it's ugly, it serves to heighten the adventure (for example 4-24-78 scarlet fire).

People talk a lot about the "wild and wooly" style of the GD, and I'm sure Bob Weir makes up about 70% of the Wooly part of it.

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Poster: Operator 552 Date: Mar 9, 2009 12:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

It seems hard for a lot of Heads to see that people like me can love the music, love the band, and still enjoy the freedom to call a spade a spade. Not only that, as a music lover and avid listener of all kinds of music, I feel an odd sort of duty to tell it like it is, at least to myself.

My reality is that Weir sure played some crap (and no one in the world can offer me any remotely reasonable speculation as to how he couldn't know better), but fuck yeah I had me some GREAT times and I would go back in a hot second if I could.

Here is the difference between me and many other Heads: I say, Weir could be horrible, and I love the Dead anyway. Others say, I love it so that proves he is a good musician, and to suggest otherwise... dem's fightin' words.

We love our children unconditionally, but we still call them on their shit when they fuck up. Doesn't mean we don't love them.

I dig Weir too, in a "Well, God love him..." kind of way.

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Poster: Zaorish Date: Mar 10, 2009 7:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

Well put.

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Poster: Zaorish Date: Mar 10, 2009 8:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Just me, or did (does) Weir SUCK?

I am coming back to this after listening a little and rethinking things...

I do love 2-17-1979 anyway though. Listen to the Don't Ease. Bob does good work there, with little riffs after each of Jerry's verses. And I love all those slidey 1978 shows, even, to an extent more than most, more than the 1977 shows where Bobby just hangs back and plays the humble servant to the great masters. Perhaps it's because of the ugliness of his playing, or rather the raucousness of it, in itself. I don't know. It's hard to say.

After all I'd have to say, "Thank God that everything happened the way it did, because it happened perfectly."